Alien Ant Farm + P.O.D + Hoobastank | Live Review

AAF

 It’s a reminder that you’re never too old to sing-along to your teenage anthems.

Nostalgia is a funny thing. With websites making their worth by shouting ‘do you feel old yet?’ into the internet abyss, it seems we, as a collective bunch of twenty and thirty somethings, are constantly searching for that teenage spark that made us feel excited about life. The early 00s was a prolific time for pop punk and nu-metal; it was a time when your choice in music was the absolute definition of ‘who you were’; it was a time when a rock band could cover Michael Jackson and not be thrown in the sea; it was a time when bro-banter was king.

Tonights’ showcase is a line-up drenched in nostalgia. Alien Ant Farm, P.O.D. and Hoobastank have arguably, left their best days behind them but if the attendance at Motion tonight is anything to go by, they’ve still got a heck of a following. The room is rammed – complete with an excitable hen party – which quickly erupts as Alien Ant Farm take to the stage. There’s no denying these guys aren’t the guys we remember in their heyday, “Remember when MTV used to play music videos?” asks frontman Dryden Mitchell. “What is it now? Sixteen and butt-fucking? Christ.” As you can tell, things are a little awkward at first; the sound levels don’t help, with Mitchell’s vocal too far down in the mix and the kick drum echoing throughout but this crowd seem to be eating it up.

Despite the fumbling antics of Mitchell – putting his microphone in his front pocket, pacing around the stage during any instrumental, telling tales of strippers and cocaine – he’s still incredibly charming and he’s still got some great pipes. “I just sat outside and cried,” he admits during one story. “My only hit song was a cover of a child molester.” Ouch. He constantly thanks everyone for being there and you can’t help but root for the guy. Saying that, it’s a nostalgia that’s hard to stomach – gone is the poster boy of 2001 and in his place stands a man, full of regret and overshadowed by his experiences. He’s pretty much a personified warning of the music industry. However, when they burst into ‘Movies’ and ‘Smooth Criminal,’ Mitchell’s eyes light up, and there’s a glimpse of the Alien Ant Farm that we all knew and loved. Their new material is surprisingly up to standard too – there’s ‘Simpatico’ and ‘Yellow Pages’ from their recent release ‘Always and Forever,’ that both have that perfected pop-punk aspect to them and with this crowd rooting for them, there’s a more-than-enthusiastic response. This may not be the band that we remember but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn to love the Alien Ant Farm of 2015.

P.O.D. haven’t changed at all. The baseball caps are still there, the mix of nu-metal, punk and dancehall are all in place and everyone loves it… like, really loves it. ‘Youth of a Nation’ gets an ear-ripping response, as word-for-word is sung back to frontman Sonny Sandoval, who is more confident than ever. His commanding presence is pretty infectious and you can’t help but nod along, however much you tell yourself you were never a nu-metal fan. This is clearly a band that truly believe in themselves and whilst fingered devil horns swim above the heads of the audience, the reggae interlude during a particular song is just too much to stomach. There’s only so much you can get away with.

Hoobastank showcase their set to a smaller crowd, proving that Bristol may be bigger fans of the previous two. Their energy doesn’t waver though, as they rip into classics such as ‘Crawling in the Dark’ and ‘Running Away,’ that quite frankly, are perfect in their execution. This is how this band would’ve played them way-back-when and it’s refreshing to witness a group that aren’t fed-up with playing their classics. Frontman Douglas Robb is definitely enjoying himself and still has one of the best voices in pop-punk, proven during their mega-hit ‘The Reason’, that produces a pretty beautiful sing-a-long, uniting just about everyone in the room.

This might have been a trip down memory lane and whilst some of the line-up have aged better than others, it’s a reminder that you’re never too old to sing-along to your teenage anthems. Alien Ant Farm and Hoobastank more than proved themselves, with their new material showcasing a surprising, unwavering output. As for P.O.D? All I can say is that if you’re a fan of old white dudes rapping in a false Jamaican accent, wearing sports vests and singing about a revolution, you’re in for a treat.

Check out ‘Movies’ right here: